The Book of Intimate Grammar by David Grossman

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Leading Israeli novelist David Grossman gives us the story of the greatest and most universal tragedy, the loss of the world of childhood. At twelve, Aron Kleinfeld is the ringleader among the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood, their inspiration in dreaming up games and adventures. But as his friends begin to mature, Aron remains imprisoned for three long years in the body of a child. While Israel inches toward the Six-Day War, and the voices of his friends change and become strange to him, Aron lives in his child body as though in a nightmare. Like a spy in enemy territory, he learns to decipher the internal codes of sexuality and desire, to understand the unyielding bureaucracy of the human body. Hurled between childhood and adulthood, between the pure and the profane, he is like a volcano of emotions and impulses. But, like his hero Houdini, Aron still struggles to escape from the trap of growing up.

The Book of Intimate Grammar is about the alchemy of childhood, which transforms loneliness and fear into creation, and about the struggle to emerge an artist. Funny, painful, and passionate, it is a work of enormous intensity and beauty.


About David Grossman

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David Grossman was born in Jerusalem on January 25, 1954, is an Israeli author of fiction, nonfiction, and youth and children's literature. His books have been translated into many languages. He is most known for his non-fiction work, The Yellow Wind. This is his study of the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. He was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Hebrew literature (1984) and the Israeli Publishers Association Prize for best Hebrew novel (1985). Grossman lives in Mevasseret Zion on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He is married to Michal Grossman, a child psychologist and the mother of his three children.
Published October 4, 2002 by Picador. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Book of Intimate Grammar

Kirkus Reviews

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Like a number of other Israeli novelists, Grossman is, stylistically, Faulkner-haunted (``He followed him up to the school gate, unsure whether to go over and show his face and talk to him as if nothing had happened, so what had, and if God forbid it had, Aron wasn't the one who ought to feel gui...

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Publishers Weekly

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Aron, reluctant to mature socially, psychologically and physically, becomes so revolted by the adult world of hairy armpits and sex and complex, mediated feelings that he eventually feels that ``having a body is itself a defect.'' Yet the reader's sympathy for this naive, gauche nebbish grows in ...

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The Independent

Aron, having struggled to crystallise a language of his own, learns to experience it most fully when the outside world - his parents, relatives and friends - seems to be most at war with him.

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The Independent

She sat up in her armchair, nodding her head like an anxious bird, and Papa's hammer cried to her, cleaved to her: sometimes it struck despairingly, as though caught in a storm, calling SOS like a telegraph key;

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London Review of Books

Gideon told [Yaeli’s mother] he really envied her and her generation for living in that glorious time, and she ruffled his hair and said, Don’t talk nonsense, she hoped to God his generation would never know anything like that glory.’ But it is precisely such ominous glory that skulks around the ...

Feb 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Book of Intimate Grammar

The Paris Review

David Gates said, “No writer—no writer—has ever been more scrupulous in honoring his characters’ complexity,” and Benjamin Kunkel called the novel “[a]t once modest and epic” and described Ripple as “one of the most vivid and robust characters in recent British fiction.” The only novel by Grossm...

May 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Book of Intimate Grammar

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